New Titanic sub expedition put together just weeks after OceanGate disaster as US government rushes to block it

1 September 2023, 09:39

A new Titanic expedition is planned
A new Titanic expedition is planned. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A new expedition to the wreck of the Titanic is being planned just weeks after the OceanGate submersible disaster.

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The US government is trying to stop the voyage, which aims to bring back items of historical interest from the ship at the bottom of the Atlantic.

It wants to stop the expedition using federal law and and an agreement with the UK for it to be treated as a grave.

But it also comes shortly after OceanGate's Titan submersible imploded, killing all five people on board, as it explored the wreck.

Read more: OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush had ‘meltdown’ after getting another sub stuck in wreck in 2016

The fallout has led to questions over whether trips to the wreck - the site of 1,500 deaths after the crash with an iceberg - should even go ahead.

The new expeditions is being put together by RMS Titanic Inc, a company based in Georgia that holds salvage rights for the wreck.

The new expedition is being put together just weeks after the OceanGate tragedy
The new expedition is being put together just weeks after the OceanGate tragedy. Picture: Alamy
The OceanGate sub ripped apart
The OceanGate sub ripped apart. Picture: Alamy

But the US government argues they need a permit to go ahead.

"RMST is not free to disregard this validly enacted federal law, yet that is its stated intent," US lawyers said on Friday in documents sent to court, and they warned the wreck would be "deprived of the protections" granted by the government.

RMST is aiming to dive in May next year - almost a year on from June 18, the date the Titan imploded.

It hopes to take photos in gaps caused by the deterioration of the wreck and bring back free-standing items.

These could include objects from the Marconi room, which holds the Marconi wireless telegraph machine used to broadcast its final distress messages that were picked up by nearby ships and stations that sent out help.

The US government wants to block the voyage to the Titanic
The US government wants to block the voyage to the Titanic. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, rescuers have described the moment they realised the crew on the Titan were dead.

Stockton Rush, the OceanGate CEO, was killed alongside British billionaire Hamish Harding, the UK-based Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, and French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Ed Cassano, of Pelagic Research Services, which operates remote vehicles that helped in the rescue, described finding the submersible's wreck.

"Upon coming into the debris field there was a pause.

"Everyone's a professional, but you can't help but be impacted... it took us a moment to really understand and think about what it meant."

An investigation into the Titan tragedy continues.

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